The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is the biggest contributor in terms of visitors to Namibia in 2019. Reports monitored on namibian.com.na, shows that Namibia drew its biggest percentage of tourist arrivals in 2019, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s tourist statistics report, launched on Monday.
According to the report, the number of African and Chinese tourists grew in 2019, while European and North American tourist arrivals dropped.
“The decrease from North America can be attributed to the fact that the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-N) ended in 2014, and no new aggressive marketing efforts continued for that specific market.
“The decrease recorded in the European market could be that the source markets had reached their peak that left the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) to venture into new potential markets such as Asia and Middle Eastern countries,” the report detailed.
In 2019, Namibia’s top 10 tourist markets were Angola (35,3%), South Africa (17,3%), Zambia (14,9%), Germany (6,1%), Zimbabwe (4,5%), Botswana (4,2%), France (1,8%), the United Kingdom (1,7%), the United States of America (1,6%) and China (1,2%).
The most popular mode of travelling in 2019 was on road, as more than half (54,1%) of tourists entered Namibia using roads. This accounts for some 863 389 tourists.
“It is not surprising to note that arrival by road is mainly by travellers from SADC countries,” the report observed.
Air travel was the second-most used mode of travel, with 42,8% of tourists flying into the country.
The report stated that South African Airways was the most popular airline, and brought in 41,8% (285 997) of tourists. Air Namibia followed with 37,8% (258 187) tourists.
“There is an interchange between the national airline, Air Namibia, and South African Airways as compared to 2018 in terms of carrying travellers into Namibia. Air Namibia brought in more travellers from the European market, while South African Airways brought in more travellers from other markets.
“In contrast, in 2018, Air Namibia brought in more travellers from Africa and Europe,” the report said.
Furthermore, it concluded there was a significant decrease in all airline tourist arrivals at Hosea Kutako International Airport, except from South African Airways.
“Since there is significant growth in terms of air connectivity, it is of utmost importance for the government to accelerate the upgrading of Hosea Kutako International Airport to make Namibia one of the best connection hubs in SADC to boost tourism,” the report said.
Namibia recently commenced its tourism revival initiative in an attempt to revive the sector after the COVID-19-imposed lockdown crippled the industry.
Speaking at the launch of the report, minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta said the ministry is working very hard to ensure that the industry recovers and emerges stronger.
“It is becoming clearer every day that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and we need to see how best we can re-establish the tourism sector without jeopardising public health in the context of the new normal,” he said.